Malaga, Madrid, BCN - last 2 wks of Aug
Similar to the previous poster, I was really sad to find out that most of the restaurant recommendations that I have are closed in August, or closed the last two weeks of August. Now, I'm certain that I won't starve, but I'm also sad that I won't be able to check out some greatest hits.
Do folks have other suggestions for Malaga, Madrid or BCN? I'm looking for one upscale restaurant in each city, 1 breakfast nook, and the rest can be more along the lines of inexpensive eats. In particular, I'm looking for at least one restaurant that specializes in Basque cuisine, and a place where I can pick up lots of jamon serrano to bring back to the States.
We're also doing a day trip to the Alhambra, so any recommendations near there would be helpful.
Generally, breakfast is no big deal in Spain; most locals just drop by at a nearby bar/cafe or pastry shop and take coffee and pastry standing up. Many will have a sitting area.
Breakfast nook: if you are looking for a more substantial breakfast, the best bet will be the kiosks inside the Boqueria for tortilla, tomato bread, jamon sandwiches, etc. Don't show up before ten. Also cafes in El Ravel around the MACBA and Pg de Born will have cafes open by that time. There will be bar/cafes around where you are staying at for coffee/pastry. If you can be specific, posters might have some good recommendations near where you're staying.
Upscale restaurant that serves modern Catalan food. Restaurants annual closing changes a little every year and most do not close for the entire month. If Barcelona is on the beginning of your trip, restaurant pickings are slimmer than the end. I don't know how might research you have done, but my advice is to make a list of those that interest you (there are at least 25 good modern Catalan places and many have been mentioned on this board.), and first check their website (for me the only trusted source), or contact them.
Inexpensive places: i would eat at tapas/pinxtos places which 80% will be open in August. Simple everyday food (not gastronomic wows), check out Can Mano and La Cova de Fumada in Barcelona; in the Eixample and just beyond the Diagonal are St. Joan, Foxos, Surency, Envalira, Bodega Manolo; Can Lluis in El Ravel. For these, I would wait until I get to Barcelona to telephone them. Most do not take reservation far in advance if at all.
Basque in Barcelona: except for pinxtos, not too many. The rear dining room of Tatika Berri is one of the better places; same for Sagardi in both El Born and the Eixample and Euskal Etxea in Born. I can recommend Arce in Madrid. A rustic restaurant in Chueca that combines traditional Basque with modern reinterpretation but not much molecular techniques. Around 60euros for the tasting menu that the chef personally discuss with you. He speaks Ehglish and Spanish as well as French, et..
One can buy jamon serrano in just about every deli. Lots in the Boqueria. For truly the best buy jamon Iberico instead. A comment but not advice about bringing jamon back to the States regardless in what form: it is illegal according to US Customs.
Thank you for the detailed reply. So far, here are the places that I have wanted to eat at which are closed (this might be helpful for other chowhounders in the future):
Alkimia reopens Aug 21.
Inquiries in at Gresca.
Am interested in Espai Sucre and the following Granjas: Granja La Pallaresa, Granja Dulcinea, Granja M. Viader,
And at La Boqueria: Bar Central
Everyday eats: Cervesaria Catalana, Cafe de l'Academia
Carrer de la Princesa, 53, Barcelona, CT 08003, ES
I am sorry that I am not much of help regarding August closing for the modern Catalan places. Just have to keep trying. Consider Comerc24, Lassarte, Moments, Gelonch, Embat, L'Olive, Colibri.
Don't know if you are seeking an opinion, never been to Espai Sucre. I like sweets, but usually a small amount at the end of the meal or a mid-afternoon snack. Granjas are informal and most are clustered around the Bari Gotic; Everyone has it's own preference. Most should be open in August, maybe not Viader in Ravel.
Bar Cental is one of about 6 or 7 kiosk in La Boqueria. Most serve similar food and which is the best depends on who one ask: El Quim, Universal, Pinotxo. I would just go around 11 am and browse what looks good and what is open during your visit. There should be no waiting at that time. My favorite is Universal. One or two will be closed on Mondays and some part of August. They sort of take their turn to make sure some are always open.
Cafe de l'Academia is probably closed in August. There are tons of good tapas/pinxtos places opened in August. Cervesaria Catalana is a big bustling fun place. Because of their sheer size and the number of people they serve, the food is hit or miss. But always a party atmosphere. For tapas/pinxtos, do an evening hopping in El Born. Many are clustered around Placa Santa Maria and streets off it; just go from one to another, eat a few and move on. Like one big block party.
Carrer de la Princesa, 53, Barcelona, CT 08003, ES